While Israel’s detractors have obsessively scrutinized, mischaracterized and demonized the Israeli lobby, the equally powerful Arab lobby has been studiously ignored. In fact, some people deny it exists -- or if it does, that its power pales in contrast to the all-powerful AIPAC. As proof, they often point to the failure to create a Palestinian state. Surely, these critics maintain, if the Arab Lobby is really as powerful as people like me say it is, a Palestinian state would long ago have been established.
My friend Doug Bloomfield, a syndicated columnist and former legislative director of AIPAC, just broke the story of how the Israeli government – and AIPAC – have signed off on a new and staggeringly big sale of U.S. F-15 fighters to Saudi Arabia.
(JTA) -- A Saudi Arabian diplomat based in Los Angeles has requested political asylum because he is gay and close friends with a Jewish woman.
The diplomat was identified Saturday by NBC News as Ali Ahmad Asseri, the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles. Asseri said he was effectively fired from his position since his diplomatic passport was not renewed by Saudi officials. He told NBC in an email message that he would be killed if he returned to Saudi Arabia.
As a journalist covering the Middle East beat in Washington, I've always wondered about the lack of a strong pro-Arab lobby in Washington. So I'm pretty intrigued with Mitchell Bard's new book, The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East - which argues that I'm wrong, and that there is one.
The real powerhouse Middle East lobby in Washington isn't AIPAC, Bard argues, but a diffuse but potent pro-Arab lobby run and funded by the Saudis.
As European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana sought further clarification this week of a Saudi statement that promised true Middle East peace, the idea that Israel would no longer be virtually isolated amid hostile Arab neighbors brought a glimmer of hope to Israelis still reeling from a week that left some 70 Israelis and Palestinians dead.
The promise of Saudi Arabia Wednesday to attend this fall’s American-sponsored regional conference on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis received mixed reviews from analysts — one called it a “welcome development” while another was wary of strings that might be attached.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a press conference that his country is “interested in the peace conference ... and will discuss it and we will make sure that we attend the conference.
Saudi Arabia was seen this week as the key to a future peace agreement between Israel and the rest of the Arab world.
“The Saudis are trying to find a [compromise] between the Israelis and the other Arab parties in which all are satisfied,” said Yitzchak Reiter, a fellow of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “I’m not sure they will succeed.”